Business Success: The Human Factor (Part 1 of 6)
Is your business successful and profitable?
Are your people productive? Or are they costing you money?
One of the keys to business success is employee engagement and alignment.
Engagement = Motivation = Performance = Productivity = Profitability
The Human Issue
Human resource management issues are consistently found throughout businesses in the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) sector. Owners are worried about, even afraid of, the impacts upon their business. The signs are always there and, in many cases, the impacts upon the business are very serious.
What are the signs that point to possible people issues or human resource management issues?
Business owners or managers will often make statements like:
- If only my staff would do their job.
- I need to manage tasks; otherwise I get problems.
- If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done properly.
- If only they cared as much as I do.
Staff, meanwhile, often make statements like:
- I am not happy working here. They don’t care about me.
- This could be a great place to work, if only management would listen.
- I don’t understand what is required of me.
- I want to work in a dynamic team environment.
All too often these statements, and others unspoken, never get addressed, with inevitable results:
- Overworked owners and managers
- Disengaged and unproductive staff
- Good staff leave and poor staff stay
This leads to serious issues within the business:
- Poor customer service
- Poor quality products and services
- Safety issues and incidents
- Unhappy customers
- Poor sales
- Unproductive staff
- Waste across all areas of the business
- Conflict in the workplace
- Poor profit performance
- And, at worst, business failure.
But it is never too late to act.
BECOME AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE
An Employer of Choice is an organisation that outperforms its competitors in attracting, developing and retaining talent through innovative human resource management initiatives.
This is more than just creating an attractive place for employees to work, it needs to be an integral part of the corporate strategy that can result in a higher level of performance and productivity in the workplace, greater stability, stronger customer loyalty, high employee satisfaction and loyalty and ultimately, higher profits.
The key question is HOW?
The first step is to implement effective human resource systems and processes in your business.
Effective Selection – The Raw Material for Success
Set the core values and behaviours that you expect in your employees, and the core skills, the must haves, for each role. Develop recruiting standards based around those core skills, core values and behaviours. Then develop recruiting processes that ensure you bring people into your business people who reflect those core values and possess the necessary core skills. Use interview techniques and adhere to an unrelenting policy that you will not hire anyone who does not possess your core values or the necessary core skills.
Effective Induction – Start the Journey to Success
Induction is not just about Health and Safety briefings and introductions. It is also important to set the tone for the new employee and develop induction processes that ensure new staff understand your business, your expectations of them and that they feel a part of your team. Defining roles and responsibilities and building expectations within a role is often forgotten as new staff enter your business. This is pivotal to setting standards and activities for every new employee in your business.
Effective Performance Management – Maintain the Journey to Success
Invest in an effective Performance Management System and ensure your employees are clear about what is expected of them. Link your expectations to the goals and objectives in your business plan to make your business vision more relevant to your people and help them understand why it is important, and keep everyone accountable to those goals and objectives. Review performance against these agreed objectives and revise these objectives regularly. This process provides a two-way feedback framework for every employee and ensures that issues and resources are reviewed and addressed and each staff member is engaged and aligned by positive interaction with his/her manager or supervisor.
The techniques are simple but very effective and, remember, great people love performance management processes. They provide focus and feedback which engages your employees and aligns their performance to business objectives. Great people will thrive in that sort of environment.
Effective Exit Procedures – Refine the Path to Success and Become a Learning Organisation
Constructive feedback from exit interviews can clearly define any problems that you face in attracting and retaining the right people. Effective exit processes are essential to learning how to improve the management of your most important resource – your human resources, your people. If people leave then find out why and act to improve the organisation from the knowledge you gain from the process. This is the essence of a learning organisation.
Skills Development and Training – Provide the Tools for Success
Skills are an integral part of any role within your business. Unfortunately, skills are not always defined clearly for each role within the business. Defining and then assessing skills regularly with each employee provides a framework for the business to evaluate skill needs across the business, within departments and importantly for each individual. This provides the structure to build people development into the business culture and engages staff with a commitment to developing their skill levels with obvious improvements in business performance emanating from that process. Of course, for this to be successful, there must be a commitment to staff training.
Sound simple? Yet in the current business environment where sourcing and retaining the right people is so difficult businesses all too often don’t apply these basic human resource management principles.
You’ll be amazed at the results if you do apply these basic principles. And if you need a hand, talk to an experienced business consultant.
The next blog in this series is ‘Employer of Choice – Expanding on the Basics‘.